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Seventy-five families of children with intractable epilepsy but without a severe learning disability (mean age 7 years 1 month, SD 2 years 6 months; range 2 to 12 years) who attended a regional paediatric neurology service, were surveyed. A postal questionnaire was used which included standardized measures of child and family adjustment; forty-eight families responded (64%; 31 males, 17 females). There was no significant difference between responders and non-responders in terms of age, sex, number of other chronic illnesses and disabilities, age at epilepsy diagnosis, seizure type, nor number of antiepileptic drugs currently prescribed (p>0.05). The importance of including multidimensional measures of outcome was highlighted by the finding that epilepsy, pharmacological, and psychosocial factors were differentially associated with specific adjustment difficulties. Two factors appeared to be most pervasively implicated across a range of adjustment problems: frequency of rectal diazepam administration and family patterns of relating to each other (p<0.05). It appeared that duration of seizures (as indicated by frequency of rectal diazepam administration), rather than the frequency of seizures per se, was more pernicious in terms of poor adjustment. Intrafamilial relations (degree of conflict/cohesion and so on) were not only associated with adjustment difficulties in the child, but also with the frequency of seizures themselves. Implications for psychological interventions in intractable epilepsy in childhood are highlighted.
The aim of the study was to test the hypotheses that elevated cerebral lactate, detected by proton spectroscopy performed within 18 hours of suspected birth asphyxia, is associated with adverse outcome, and that increased lactate can be used to predict adverse outcome. Thirty-one term infants suspected of having had birth asphyxia and seven control infants underwent proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, using three-dimensional chemical shift imaging, within 18 hours of birth. Adverse outcome was defined as death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 1 year of age or more. Nine infants had an adverse outcome. The other 22 and all of the control infants remained normal. Median (range) lactate/creatine plus phosphocreatine (lactate/creatine) ratios in the abnormal, the normal, and the control group were 1.14 (0.17 to 3.81), 0.33 (0 to 1.51), and 0.05 (0 to 0.6) respectively (P=0.003). Lactate/creatine >1.0 predicted neurodevelopmental impairment at 1 year of age with sensitivity of 66% and specificity of 95%, positive and negative predictive values of 86% and 88%, and a likelihood ratio of 13.2. Elevated cerebral lactate/creatine within 18 hours of birth asphyxia predicts adverse outcome.
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